In our news wrap Wednesday, the EPA declared that greenhouse gases from passenger airlines, cargo planes and business jets are a danger to public health. Also, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell warned Congress about the looming Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act. If the rules against the law, more than 6 million people will lose their health care subsidies.
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Wall Street broke out of a week-long slump today amid hopes for a break in the Greek bailout drama. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 236 points to close at 18000. The Nasdaq rose more than 60 points, and the S&P 500 added 25.
Also today, the Los Angeles City Council gave final approval to raising the local minimum wage to $15 an hour. It’s the largest American city to take that step.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving to curb emissions from commercial aircraft. EPA declared today that greenhouse gases from passenger airliners, cargo planes and business jets are a danger to public health. Military aircraft and smaller planes would be exempt from any new regulations.
The top federal health official warned Congress today over a looming Supreme Court decision on health care. At issue is whether federal subsidies apply in 34 states without their own insurance exchanges. If the court says no, more than six million people would lose their subsidies.
At a House hearing, the secretary of health and human services, Sylvia Burwell, said lawmakers will feel the heat.
SYLVIA MATHEWS BURWELL, Health and Human Services Secretary:
If the court says that we do not have the authority to give subsidies, the critical decisions will sit with the Congress and states and governors to determine if those subsidies are available.
The Supreme Court’s decision is due before month’s end.
Pope Francis created a tribunal today to pursue Catholic bishops who cover up or fail to stop priests who are sexual predators. A Vatican announcement said the new panel will — quote — “judge bishops with regard to crimes of the abuse of office when connected to the sexual abuse of minors.”
The pope also met today with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, and pressed for a — quote — “sincere effort” at making peace in Ukraine. The hour-long sit-down came at the Vatican. A papal spokesman said Francis appealed for an end to fighting between Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian rebels.
In Egypt, a suicide bomber targeted one of the country’s best-known antiquities today. Authorities said the attacker blew himself up in the parking lot next to Luxor’s ancient Karnak Temple after guards blocked him from entering. That triggered a gunfight with two other men.
KHALED EL SHARKAWY (through interpreter):
I saw someone running and suddenly saw the explosion. And after the explosion, I saw that a taxi driver had caught one of the attackers and was beating him and shouting for help. So, I ran to help. Another attacker started shooting at us and came and shot the captured attacker in the head. Then a policeman came and shot him.
No tourists were killed or hurt, and the temple itself wasn’t damaged. It was the second attack this month on a major tourist site in Egypt.
The corruption scandal at soccer’s world governing body has postponed bidding for the 2026 World Cup. The head of FIFA said today it would be nonsense to start the process this week. Separate U.S. and Swiss investigations are under way into alleged bribery at FIFA.
Back in this country, there’s new information about the fatal Amtrak crash in Philadelphia last month. The National Transportation Safety Board now says the engineer wasn’t using his cell phone to talk, text or download data before the wreck. But a board member told senators the probe isn’t over.
T. BELLA DINH-ZARR, National Transportation Safety Board:
There are 400,000 pieces of data involved in the analysis. And because of the extent of that, things like the use of an app or other use of a phone has not been determined.
Eight people were killed and more than 200 were hurt in the Philadelphia crash.
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson revealed today he has early-stage Parkinson’s disease. The Georgia Republican said he still plans to run for a third term next year. Isakson is 70. He said he was diagnosed in 2013, but didn’t tell his children or staff until recently. Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system.
And the librarian of Congress, James Billington, is stepping down after nearly three decades. He’s 86 and he plans to retire on January 1. Billington is credited with bringing the world’s largest library into the digital age and doubling its size to 160 million items.